“The real progress has been not in Washington—where the idea of an active government role in promoting economic competitiveness remains suspect—but in the states and the largest cities. More and more local governments have taken the lead in developing competitiveness strategies that start from the premise that local prosperity depends in good part on success in international economic competition,” argues CFR Senior Fellow Edward Alden. This is an excerpt from his new book, Failure to Adjust: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy.
Sebastian Mallaby uses the framework of central bank power to examine the rise and recent decline of the cult of the expert. He concludes that, ironically, experts need to play the political game if they hope to maintain their legitimacy; and that a healthy democracy is well served by a mix of public accountability and technocratic independence.
In this intriguing prequel to his upcoming book, Sebastian Mallaby reveals a new side to controversial former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan. Greenspan was often accused of trusting too much in markets and being blind to the effects of bubbles, but Mallaby shows that Greenspan, in fact, was the man who knew.
Trade Policy Has Become Politically Unpopular. These Steps Could Help Rehabilitate It. This piece is based on a new CFR discussion paper authored by Edward Alden and Robert E. Litan, titled “A Winning Trade Policy for the United States.”
New Census data shows promising increases in median household income and the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership would boost national income. Yet, U.S. politicians disparage rather than celebrate this tangible progress. What happened to American optimism?
Donald Trump’s ungainly back-and-forth on immigration has a parallel in Britain, which is struggling to make sense of its own impetuous resolution to take control of its borders. Indeed, if Britain after the Brexit referendum is anything to go by, a Trump presidency would be dominated by zigzagging: sometimes to dilute past promises, sometimes to double down.
Venture capital (VC) firms spent over $25 billion funding clean energy technology (cleantech) start-ups from 2006 to 2011 and lost over half their money; as a result, funding has dried up in the cleantech sector. In this report, we present the most comprehensive account to date of the cleantech VC boom and bust, aggregating hundreds of investments to calculate the risk/return profile of cleantech, compared with those of medical and software technology investments. The results are stark—cleantech offered VCs a dismal risk/return profile, dragged down by companies developing new materials, chemistries, or processes that never achieved manufacturing scale. We conclude that the VC model is broken for the cleantech sector, which suffers especially from a dearth of large corporations willing to invest in innovation. Fortunately, new public and private capital may be on the way after announcements made at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Summit. If a new and more diverse set of actors avoids the mistakes of the cleantech VC boom and bust, then they may be able to support a new generation of cleantech companies."
Given the spectacle of this year’s presidential race, it is easy to overlook the parallel drama in the world of central banking. But when the monetary priesthood gathers Thursday for its annual seminar-cum-summer camp in Jackson Hole, Wyo., heretics will stalk the halls.
U.S. President Barack Obama has promised to continue his push for Congress to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), despite firm opposition to the free trade agreement from both of the major candidates for president, including his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton. “Right now, I’m the president and I think I’ve got the better argument,” he told reporters following a meeting Tuesday with Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong.
On Tuesday, the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration issued its final ruling in a landmark case between the Philippines and China over disputed maritime claims in the South China Sea. The object of intense global interest, the three-year-old case has come to serve as a bellwether for the kind of rising power China intends to be.
The United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration delivered its final ruling Tuesday in a case between the Philippines and China over disputed maritime claims in the South China Sea. Closely watched around the world, the three-year-old landmark case was seen as a litmus test of China’s intentions as a rising power.
“The challenge for ‘flyover cities’ such as Wichita; Lincoln, Neb.; Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and other places enjoying a tech-led revival is to find ways of ensuring that the benefits of their comebacks spread widely” writes CFR adjunct senior fellow Robert E. Litan.
In Market Madness, Blake C. Clayton shows that predictions of dwindling oil supplies and a rise in prices have been empirically proven incorrect. Technological advances and geopolitical shifts have repeatedly prompted sudden, severe drops in oil prices—exactly like the one we are experiencing today.
In By All Means Necessary, Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael Levi explore the unrivaled expansion of the Chinese economy. China is now engaged in a far-flung quest, hunting around the world for resources, and deploying whatever it needs in the economic, political, and military spheres to secure them. More
In Money, Markets, and Sovereignty, the authors present a fascinating intellectual history of monetary nationalism from the ancient world to the present and explore why, in its modern incarnation, it represents the single greatest threat to globalization. More
In The Closing of the American Border, Edward Alden goes behind the scenes to tell the story of the Bush administration's struggle to balance security and openness in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. More